According to the will of the church and the emperor, Martin Luther was to recant his teachings at the Diet of Worms in 1521. He refused and referred to the Bible, reason and conscience. An event that changed the world and 500 years later is the reason for the great Reformation anniversary.

Just a few steps away from Worms' bustling market square, in the immediate vicinity of the cathedral, is the beautiful Heylshof Park. A romantic landscape garden with old trees, putti and water features. But where peaceful flair reigns today, Martin Luther was once declared outlawed. This was the site of the bishop's court in the Middle Ages. This was the building in which the Augustinian monk courageously stood up for himself at the Diet of Worms on April 18, 1521, and refused to recant his teachings - a dramatic scene that went down in history as the "Edict of Worms. 

Here I stand

A brief reminder: Martin Luther protested against many of the pope's instructions. Above all, he wanted to abolish the indulgences that enabled Christians to buy their freedom from sin. The theologian from Wittenberg formulated his thoughts in 1517 in 95 theses, which spread like wildfire. Five years later, the church and the emperor demanded that he publicly distance himself from his writings, which were condemned as heretical. As is well known, things turned out differently: "Here I stand, I can do no other." With these much-quoted words, Martin Luther is said by tradition to have ended his speech in which he invoked the Bible, reason and conscience. The fact is, from then on the Reformation took its course.

A historical event that will be celebrated for the 500th time in 2021 - reason for a major anniversary program. And so Worms dedicates numerous events to the man who resolutely stood up for his ideals in this city despite the danger of death. For example, the state exhibition "Here I Stand. Conscience and Protest - 1521 to 2021," which focuses on the significance and myth of the Worms appearance on the one hand, and on the topic of "freedom of conscience" in general on the other. Personalities with courage and civil courage are presented, including the young Sophie Scholl, Nelson Mandela or Georg Büchner (3.07. - 30.12.2021, museum-andreasstift.com). 

Another highlight: the world premiere of "Luther" at the original location in front of Worms Cathedral. For the first time at the summer festival, the focus is not on the story of the Nibelungen, but on the reformer. The play was written by one of the most distinguished German-language playwrights: the Büchner Prize winner Lukas Bärfuss. (17.07. - 1.08.2021, nibelungenfestspiele.de). You can hear more about this in the podcast with Nico Hofmann, the artistic director of the Nibelungen Festival.

Back to the Heylshof Park - together with the Schlossplatz, it is one of five locations on the "Luther Tour" in the city center. In the middle of the green oasis stands the bronze sculpture "Luther's Big Shoes. They are actually a few sizes larger, so that anyone can slip into them - as a symbol of steadfastness. An educational and adventure trail also runs from here, where you can trace Martin Luther's ten-day stay in Worms along several artistically designed stations from May to October. And of course, a visit to the Rhineland-Palatinate city also includes taking a selfie in front of the Luther Monument, one of the world's largest monuments to the Reformation. In the center, Luther stands on a high pedestal and places a fist on the Bible in an allusion to the Diet of Worms. 

Made in Mainz

One year after Martin Luther's refusal to recant in Worms, the New Testament he had translated into German went to press and was distributed en masse. This was made possible by Johannes Gutenberg's invention of movable type. This technical innovation made in Mainz revolutionized book production in 1450 - and laid the foundation for everyone - from nobles to peasants - to have access to the Bible 75 years later. To ensure that people really understood what they were reading, Luther allowed himself a little creative freedom and used very figurative language: according to the motto "look the people in the mouth." By the way, the Luther Library in Worms, which houses more than 650 printed materials from the Reformation period, also contains a parchment Bible from 1541 - with a handwritten entry by the reformer! 

In collaboration with Rhineland-Palatinate Tourism GmbH

For a Vacation in Rhineland-Palatinate there are many good reasons. Some of them are the several castles and chateaus, great Vineyards on the Moselle and Rhine and historic cities like Trier and Mainz.

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